[INTERVIEW] Alliance France Cuir: between tradition, innovation and sustainability

In an exclusive interview, industry experts take us to the heart of France’s sustainable leather industry. Frank Boehly, President of Alliance France Cuir; Sophie Hivert, General Delegate of the Fédération Française de la Tannerie Mégisserie; and Christophe Dehard, President of the Fédération des Cuirs et Peaux share their expertise on subjects ranging from responsible hide sourcing to anticipating trends in the fashion and luxury markets.

 

Do all the animals whose skins are used come from the agri-food sector, or are there farms dedicated solely to the leather industry?

 

Frank Boehly, President of Alliance France Cuir: A legend, carefully propagated and maintained by a number of NGOs, is that today, almost one French person in two believes that animals are specifically bred for their skins. According to a survey conducted by the ALLIANCE FRANCE CUIR, this proportion rises to 70% in the 18/24 age bracket.

This is alarming, because this fable is not based on any reality, if only because it would make no economic sense. The value of a cattle hide is between 3% and 5% of the animal’s value, and this figure is even lower for sheep. Under these conditions, how can we imagine raising an animal for, at best, 5% of its value?

The reality is that skins are a co-product of the agri-food industry, and recycling them prevents them from becoming waste. In fact, 160,000 tons of raw hides are recycled every year in France, and their destruction would have a considerable environmental impact.

So, to answer your question, there isn’t a single bovine, ovine or caprine animal in the world that is bred for its hide. These animals are raised for their meat or for their milk, but in all cases to feed the population. The only exception is exotic leathers, but they represent only a very small percentage of global volume, and their meat is also consumed by local populations.

 

What are the different sourcing stages for tanners?

 

Sophie Hivert, General Delegate of the Fédération Française de la Tannerie Mégisserie: The different sourcing stages for French tanners vary according to their business models. They either buy their raw skins from slaughterhouses or hide collectors, or “crust” skins (tanned, dried skins that can be dyed but not finished) or “wet-blue” leather (leather in its blue state obtained after mineral tanning but before dyeing and smoothing).

 

How do partnerships between tanners and breeders work?

 

Christophe Dehard, President of the Fédération des Cuirs et Peaux : There are no tanners/breeders partnerships, only tanners/slaughterers/breeders partnerships.

These partnerships are mainly based on integrated calf schemes (calves raised in “nurseries”).

There is, however, one example of an industry partnership in the veal calf sector. This is the FECNA project.

 

How many animals feed the production line each year?

 

CD : Source abattages – Agreste

 

By 2022

Coarse cattle hides: 96% for export and 4% in France

Calf hides: 93% for export and 7% in France

Sheepskins: 62% for export and 38% in France

Source : FAM/Douanes/ALLIANCE FRANCE CUIR

 

Does animal feed or welfare affect the quality of the weather?

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Read also > THE CNC UNVEILS A HEALTHY OUTLOOK FOR THE FRENCH LEATHER INDUSTRY IN 2023

 

Featured photo : From left to right Frank Boehly © CNC, Sophie Hivert © FFTM and Christophe Dehard © CNC

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Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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